Chamber selects businesses of the year

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Thursday night, Dec. 16, the membership of the Upper Snoqualmie

Valley Chamber of Commerce gathered at the Snoqualmie Ridge Golf Club

for their annual Christmas Gala.

As in the past, the naming of the business of the year and new

business of the year provided one of the highlights of the evening. For

Kimberley Karrick of Snoqualmie Valley Eyecare Associates, learning her

organization had received business of the year honors also came as something of a shock.

"We were surprised," she said Monday. "We weren't even

expecting it."

Owned by Karrick and her husband Bryan, Snoqualmie

Valley Eyecare Associates joined the chamber in December 1996 and just this

last March moved into its new, remodeled location at 408 Maine Ave. S in

North Bend. Karrick says that since their short move _ only a few doors

down _ business has continued to boom.

"We recently took over the practice of Dr. Maurice Olson, who

retired," she commented. "We are now the only eye care facility in this

end of the Valley."

Karrick added they provide a full range of eye care and optometry

services, from pre- and post-operation assistance to laser vision

correction, diabetic management and emergency eye care, as well as contact lenses

and glasses.

Safari's Pizza, 8103 Falls Ave. S.E. in Snoqualmie, received accolades

as the Upper Valley's new business of the year. Owners Penny and

Harold Nesland opened their pizza place in the back of the Snoqualmie

Falls Candy Factory on Sept. 1, 1998, and now employ over 20 people.

According to chamber director Susan Hankins, picking Safari for

the award was not a difficult process.

"Since they have moved, they have jumped right in and supported

the community," she said. "He has a belief system that you need to give

back. He's always had that, even in his landscape business."

While operating their landscape company, the Neslands

donated monthly upkeep for seven baseball fields. This approach of service to

the community has continued into their pizza business, through which

they've started fund-raising programs for non-profit organizations like schools

and sports groups.

Safari's sponsors four pizza nights a month, giving 20 percent of the

sales to the targeted organization. Harold Nesland estimates they gave

$15,000 last year to schools and organizations, and said they hope to reach

$20,000 this year.

"I think that the chamber's always happy to see energetic new

business in the Valley," Hankins concluded.

"I think it's wonderful. We have such neat, energetic new people that

are starting something in the Valley. It's delightful."

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